Trailer For 'Mute' Movie Takes a Stab at Cyberpunk
Filmmaker Duncan Jones deserves to be remembered for more than just the Warcraft movie.
History has proven that video game movies are difficult at the best of times, but tackling a game as dense and lore-heavy as World of Warcraft was always going to be a big challenge. Now, Jones has turned away from pretty much everything he did with his last movie while working on his new science fiction film, entitled Mute.
Where Warcraft is a big-budget CGI fest, the trailer for Mute makes the film feel small, personal, and relatively light on big action set pieces. Where Warcraft was designed as a family-friendly PG-13 adventure, Mute is clearly a lot more adult, as is evidenced by the number of times this short, two minute sneak peek drops the F-bomb.
Most crucially, where Warcraft is a film that was always built for movie theaters, Mute is skipping the theatrical release entirely in favor of a Netflix debut. Instead of watching the movie in a packed room with friends, this is something that the majority of viewers will experience while sat on their couch, curled up in bed, or straddling the toilet.
Check out the full trailer below:
The initial trailer for this movie makes it difficult to ascertain exactly what the plot of the story is, and which characters the audience should be paying attention to.
The story apparently focuses on Leo Beiler, a cyberpunk bartender played by Alexander Skarsgård of True Blood and The Legend of Tarzan fame (who happens to be the son of Stellan Skarsgård/Erik Selvig from The Avengers and the brother of Bill Skarsgård/Pennywise from last year's It). Skarsgård's character happens to be mute — hence the film's title — making him the second sci-fi protagonist to display this particular trait in recent months, although Guillermo del Toro had the sense to not name The Shape of Water after his main character's disability.
While the plot is more or less a mystery, this is probably for a reason. The movie shares more than a few artistic choices with Blade Runner, and it seems like we're going to get a pulpy noir cyberpunk story; the kind that's inexplicably popular among movie makers at the moment.
There's also a brief scene in the trailer in which actress Seyneb Saleh appears to be literally dressed as Jessica Rabbit, so perhaps Blade Runner isn't the only noir genre mash-up that influenced this film.
It's hard to see why Hollywood keeps trying so hard with the cyberpunk genre at the moment. For all that films like Blade Runner 2049 and Ghost in the Shell have their fans, neither ended up being the big hits that their respective studios were hoping for.
Following the disappointing response to Max Landis' and David Ayer's fantasy buddy-cop movie Bright, Netflix is hoping for a big budget spectacle movie to define the streaming platform's original content, and Jones is clearly drawn to the opportunity to let loose without fear of unnecessary studio censorship.
Whether this gambit pays off remains to be seen. Thus far, audiences really haven't shown much interest in cyberpunk films, but hopefully, the 1980s appeal of Netflix programming (such as Stranger Things) will mean that there are enough nostalgia junkies on the platform's subscriber base to justify this film.
Here's hoping that Duncan Jones gets his due from this movie. The director of Source Code and Moon deserves better than to be remembered as the guy who failed to make a World of Warcraft movie a tolerable experience.